Lewis Darby, a science fiction writer of some repute, is about to embark on an adventure of a lifetime.
Also known as the Captain, Lewis lives with his mother in modern day Indiana. What nobody knows is that sometimes Captain crawls beneath an old refrigerator box in the basement and pretends it's a spaceship. And what Captain doesn't realize is that he has a date with destiny.
One peculiar April morning, Captain crosses paths with Jennifer Pichon, the child of legendary space explorer Marty Pichon and Kitty Malhotra, the Princess of Saturn. They join forces just in time as the terrifying astronomical event called "No-Shape" is poised to ravage the Solar System from Mercury to Neptune and beyond.
Together, Captain and the mysterious Jennifer face such terrors as the jungles of Venus, the perilous Worm Caves, and the decaying, giant insect-ridden wastes of Mars - and perhaps even fall in love along the way.
Their journey is filled with trials, but they alone can save the solar system from certain doom.
1. The Captain
“We are not machines," Captain addressed his passengers, "complacent in our servitude.” His fingers danced expertly across the controls as he spoke into his microphone. “Nor are we tools, consummated by functionality. We breathe and we yearn, and the beauty of our dreams…" he paused for effect, "…outweighs the pettiness of our limitations."
Far off the engines rumbled as countdown began.
“I remind you, the blue sky is just a trick of light. Day: an illusion. Night is the truth. The great sea of stars beckons. Once there … only there …”
Captain’s voice trailed off. A stark melancholy seized his heart. He was thirty-nine years old now, still living in his mother’s house in Kalansket, Indiana. The spacecraft was only an old refrigerator box he had crawled under. The microphone he spoke into was his fist. The pioneers on his vessel … all imaginary.
Why was he still pretending? Why did he keep crawling under there, away from the world, into the dark, with all the world drowned out and his life but a dream?
Then Captain regained his composure. “I may not make it there with you,” he confessed, his voice trembling, "but hope and ambition outlive everything." He pressed buttons he had drawn on the interior of the cardboard box. The final sequence began. Thick gravitational forces smacked into his bones, and he fantasized the bones of a thousand brave companions. Ignition. Even inside the cockpit he could swear he smelled rocket fuel.
A cool sweat trickled down his neck. His skin shook.
“Here we go,” he said.